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Medical Sterilization Firm Dirties Illinois Air

CHICAGO, Illinois, July 16, 2002 (ENS) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 has filed an administrative complaint against Cosmed of Illinois for alleged clean air violations at its medical equipment sterilization plant in Waukegan, Illinois just north of Chicago. The agency has proposed a $132,000 penalty.

"We're alleging Cosmed of Illinois violated national emissions standards for the hazardous air pollutant ethylene oxide, which is used to sterilize medical products," said Steve Rothblatt, acting director of the regional Air and Radiation Division.

Exposure to ethylene oxide can cause irritation of the eyes, skin and mucous membranes, as well as brain and nerve function problems.

Specifically, the complaint alleges the company failed to test its emissions control equipment to see that it was working properly, install a continuous emissions monitoring system, and keep records documenting compliance with emissions standards.

Constructed in 1994, this Cosmed of Illinois facility services medical device manufacturers throughout the Midwest.

Cosmed has filed an answer to the complaint and requested a hearing. The EPA and Cosmed are scheduling a meeting to discuss the allegations and how to resolve them.

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